Till or Plow?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by CJ, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ok no laughing, I'm not a dirt farmer :)
    If I wanted to plant say an acre of corn, or even 5 acres of various vegetables, would I be better of with a rotatiller for the tractor (it's a NH 4wd 45hp) or a disk and harrow or something else entirely I'm not even aware of?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    With an acre a small disc and tractor would be better if your going conventional technique. I plant the equivilent of an acre of corn in a grouping of SFG beds and leave all the soil management to my worms. Being a grass crop, my corn yields nicely in the 4x4 ft beds. Best part is that the tight squares weather the storms here great with no blow downs.
     

  3. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    Shrek -

    I have to come up with a better way to do my corn.... Got all buggy and nasty last year. I had them in tight rows (4), but have CLAY soil, and no amount of amending seems to help... I thought that might have been the problem, but its was bugs on closer inspection... More details, please!!!!!

    Sue
     
  4. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We're doing our "house" garden in raised beds, but I can't imagine the expense of setting up enough beds for a farmer's market that way?
    I use mainly 4'x8' beds, and for the soil I add 100 lbs of cottonseed hulls, 4 cubic feet of peat moss, and mix bottom soil in until the bed is full (this is per bed). We add our rabbit manure to the beds directly.
     
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    C J, I get the impression that you are thinking about raising vegtables or varied other crops on a much larger scale. The roto tiller mounted on your tractor would put the ground into ready to plant condition. If you get a mold board plow, it will bury the trash on the surface better than the tiller. However the ground would need to be leveled out and loosened up on the surface to be ready to plant. The tiller would do the nicely. An old 3 point hitch mold board plow should cost somewhere in the $200 range. Your tractor may handle a 3 bottom plow, but on the amount you have in mind to plant, a two bottom plow would do a better job.
    To make a really nice plot, you could plant it to rye in September, and plow the rye under in may. (In zone 5) then put it in garden ready condition with the tiller as you are ready to plant. If your ground has lots of rocks, the tiller might not be able to handle them.
     
  6. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Shrek,
    How many 4x4 beds equal an acre?


    "Best part is that the tight squares weather the storms here great with no blow downs. "

    What's a blow down? and why do tight squares prevent them?
     
  7. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    OMG a whole acre of 4x4 beds? 16 square feet per bed... an acre is 43,560 sq. feet.. that's 2,722 beds back to back or cut that in half (my best guestimate?) to leave walkways, that's STILL 1361 beds!!!!!!!! Good lord.
     
  8. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

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    If you just want to plant corn then you don't need the expensive, high maintenance rototiller. If you want to plant a lot of vegetables you need the expensive, high maintenance rototiller because it does all your primary and secondary tillage at once so you can get in the ground quick to seed. Vegetable growing takes a lot more labor than just growing corn and vegetable seeds are not nearly as tough and forgiving as corn so they need a much better prepped seedbed. Plus with a rototiller you can till and then transplant by hand any seedlings you have. With conventional soil you usually need a transplanter which is a high ticket Item. Making permanent raised beds is great for a home garden but is way to expensive and labor intensive for several acres.
     
  9. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks guys for all the responses. We're contemplating getting into growing produce for farmer's markets, along with ducks, duck eggs and rabbits. We've decided not to raise any more large livestock, although I am still missing my sheep like crazy!

    I guess the best thing would probably be to just keep expanding a bit at a time and see what the market will bear. Since our 2nd home FINALLY is under contract, after nearly 2 years on the market, our mortgage will be small enough now that hubby can work 2 3 month contracts a year and stay home the rest of the time, we'd like something fun to do as well as bring in some additional income. It has to be setup so that I can handle it when he's working... heck I just answered my own question, LOL. I can till, plow, etc, as long as the implements are hooked up to the tractor, but I can't hook them up myself! Guess I'll stick to raised beds and add as able.
     
  10. doohap

    doohap Another American Patriot

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    CJ, thanks so much for bringing up the subject of working the land.


    Alright, everyone, we are beginning our new life as a homesteaders, and would appreciate your understanding and patience with our naivety.

    We have a piece of land in northeast Texas. We are not yet living there, but plan to do so by the end of 2004 at the earliest. In the meantime, We are building a pole barn and home, having the well dug, etc. We have determined the location for the home garden where we hope to grow enough for our own consumption, with excess being offered through local outlets, farmers markets, etc.

    We have raised vegetables at our "city" home using a raised bed system and have had good luck, but we've never had the opportunity or means, as we will have now, to raise more than enough to feed ourselves and our family.

    The soil where our garden will be located is sandy loam, easy to work and well drained. The land has been used by a neighbor for many years as extra grazing for his small cattle herd. There have not been cattle on the property for the past nine months. The area is now in bahaia, basically. Some croton, blackberries, vetch, winter grasses, etc., have also been detected.

    Our silly question is: Where do we begin? As we are gardening organically, what's the first step (after fencing and soil testing)? We hope to end up using a no-till or ridge-till method of cultivation, but how do we get rid of what's there now in order to begin? Do we till it all under? Do we maybe try to run goats to get rid of weeds, then till the goat manure and remaining grasses under? We're anxious to get started, but not being able to be present on the land (we live 4 hours away), what should we be doing now to prepare the land for the garden. We're talking about a quarter to a half acre.

    There is much to learn and We're anxious to hear from those of you who are doing or have done it ... you real farmers out there. Thanks so much for listening and sharing your advice and insight, and being patient with our ignorance. We're on the verge of living as we've wanted to for more years than we can count, and want to get off to a good start.

    Peace and smiles,
    doohap
     
  11. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well if you're just talking 1/4 to an entire acre, heck I'd fence it in and toss a few pigs on it, they'll churn it up in nothing flat, and you can work it from there. We did a small plot that way a few years ago at our old place, and it worked great. I ran a tiller over it after, but we ended up moving here before I could wait another season so it wouldn't be "hot".
     
  12. doohap

    doohap Another American Patriot

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    Hmmm, we had at one time considered raising a few of pigs ... something to think about.

    Sounds like it takes a couple of "seasons" (years?) before planting can be done. Am I understanding correctly?


    Thanks.

    doohap
     
  13. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well pig manure is hot, so if you used them to till, yes you'd have to wait a season.
    We are still just raising food for ourselves at this point, and I use raised beds, there's hardly any work involved with them, and I dump rabbit manure straight from the pens as I clean onto the beds, so they have a continious supply of manure in small doses.
    Our beds are new at this place, but at our old place we had hundreds of rabbits, and the beds we made there were about 75% rabbit manure, and grew the most incredible stuff!